Wednesday, 11 January 2012

FO No. 1 of 2012: Grandpa's Lap Quilt

City Boy's grandfather had to move to a nursing home last year. After wondering what we could get him for Christmas, City Boy asked if I would make him a quilt for watching tv. Well how could I refuse such a request?

We knew we wouldn't be seeing the recipient until mid January, so this wasn't started until New Year's Eve.

It's lap sized, about 38 inches squared, and backed in a soft cotton flannel for coziness.


The fabrics are a mix of Kona cotton which I had already and some prints selected from the John Lewis sale, with City Boy's input.

It was quilted with lines a quarter of an inch either side of the seams and crinkled up nicely in the wash. Hopefully it will bring a bit of home comfort to a nursing home room this winter.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Variations on a Theme

Blue and Beige...

Pink and Grey...

Burgundy and Cream...

Green and White

These are all Selbu Modern by Kate Gagnon Osborn, available free on Ravelry. It's a lovely little pattern that knits up fast and looks great. I added an extra pattern repeat to each of these and added in a few rows when decreasing for the crown as I like hats to be slouchy and I'd read that this one knits up on the small size. All knitted in a mixture of fingering weight wool and Alpaca I had in the house.

The grey one is this winter's hat for me and I managed to part with the rest as Christmas presents. City Boy managed to convince me that owning the same hat in four different colourways was a little excessive, even for a lover of knitted accessories.

Monday, 9 January 2012

12 resolutions for 2012

These are perhaps somewhat belated for new year's resolutions, but in my working life I set goals against which to measure my success, so why not my personal life as well? There's things I want to achieve that could all too easily slip to the bottom of the to-do list, so I think it will be quite a good motivator to give myself appraisals, perhaps on a quarterly basis.

1. Remember to wear perfume more often. I own lots of lovely perfume that I mostly forget about.

2.Try keeping a sketch book. I have so many ideas floating around on scraps of paper, jotted in my diary or never committed to paper. It would be interesting to see how keeping a sketch book affects the way I sew and knit. Besides, it's a great excuse to order stationery.

3. Get fit again. I'm really hoping to be able to run 5km this summer, which may sound easy enough but I'm currently not allowed to run at all. I'm up to walking on an incline and cross training, so have made a start.

4. Decide what on earth to do about my career. It boils down to two options: progress where I am or move on elsewhere. I need to decide which I want this year and commit to it one way or the other, otherwise I'll spend another year standing still career-wise.

5. Make curtains for the living room. It's been a year and a half now, sort it out woman.

6. An extension to the above, take the time to make some nice soft furnishings for our house. Everyone else in the extended family has lovely homemade cushions, table runners and quilts; in 2012 I'm going to be a little bit selfish with my sewing time.

7. Take the time to properly sew a well-finished item of clothing. Although I often dash off a quick top or unlined dress I so rarely spend the time on a more time consuming item which will last. The last thing I can remember was a fully lined tea dress in 2010. I have some lovely wool that's been patiently waiting to be a coat for several years, and 2012 may finally be it's year.

8. Pick a surface/drawer/shelf/area/box to clear of clutter and sort every week/fortnight/month. I'm leaving the frequency of this activity blank as I don't to fail if I miss a week, but once a month won't get anywhere near clearing out all the clutter we've accumulated. As long as I get some of the junk out the house I'll be happy.

9. This one will be a little hard to tick off, but I'd like to spend my (somewhat sparse) free time more deliberately this year. I don't watch much television, but I've increasingly found that if I'm not careful I can come home from work and sit down for 'just a minute', and before I know it I've watched an hour of rubbish tv. I'd like to spend those lost hours more thoughtfully - I'm not opposed to watching trashy tv on occasion, but when I do I'd like it to be a conscious decision to sit down and indulge, rather than just a time suck.

10. Be better at keeping in touch with people. Phone my grandmother, book dinners with friends, reply to text messages immediately.

11. Remember all family birthdays. At age [late twenties] it is inexcusable that my mother still feels the need to ring me to check I put a card in the post to family members. This year I will be able to tell her it's already been sent.

12. Bake some passable macaroons. I was put off the whole idea by abject failure when I tried last year, but would like to try again.

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Well I disappeared for a while there. I got swept up in the frantic rush of late November and December, a busy time of year at work as well as at home. I did keep thinking of my little blog but somehow couldn't get it together enough to write anything.

But it's a new year and a fresh start, so, keeping in the spirit of January, I'm going to do one quick, whizzy rundown of what I've been up to for the last few weeks and then move on with 2012.

There was a shopping and sightseeing trip to beautiful New York City. A treat for me from City Boy after struggling through a rubbish year health-wise.

There was lots of knitting and making ahead of the 25th of course, much of which was wrapped up and handed over in far too much of a rush to photograph. One such present comes immediately to mind - a reverse appliqué quilted table runner for my mum. I'd spent hours on it, and was finally sewing on the binding on Christmas Eve when I noticed a few red marks on it. On further inspection there were red smears all over it. Panicking now, and fearing the worst, I was trying to work out when it would have come into contact with red ink when I noticed that one of my fingers was also covered in red ink. Of course, I'd stabbed myself with a pin, which I'd not really registered in the frantic rush to get it finished and bled profusely all over natural linen. An unscheduled wash was required, and it was only just dry in time to wrap on Christmas morning.

There were a host of knitted gifts as well, including this lovely little cowl made out of some DK silk and merino, sent off to warm the neck of one of my grandmothers. This was actually for a birthday, of which we had two to celebrate in December. Really, it's quite inconvenient of people to be having birthdays when I'm trying to prepare for Christmas!


There were many, many shopping trips, often on two wheels with a laden basket, wobbling through the park.

There was decorating and a trip to three different places to hunt down that elusive perfect tree.

I didn't get many decorations made this year despite my intentions and the beginning of a Christmas quilt. I had imagined a quilt that could be brought out for snuggling in front of the fire in Decembers to come, but it currently consists of two star blocks.

Lots of baking (and eating), including a wonderfully sticky, spicy gingerbread loaf that I made (and ate) over and over again.

And there were lots and lots of lovely presents - I was thoroughly spoilt this year, including a present that I'd been dropping lots of hints for...

Except for leaving the house for a New Year's Eve party, in the period between Christmas and New Year we could, furry housemates included, normally be found on the sofa in front of a film with the fire on, all wrapped up and keeping warm.